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Red Dead Redemption II

Breaking Down The Red Dead Redemption II Story Trailer
by Matt Bertz on Sep 28, 2017 at 01:08 PM
Platform PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher Rockstar Games
Developer Rockstar Games
Rating Mature

The story trailer Rockstar dropped today is filled with details about Red Dead Redemption II. Beyond the gorgeous visuals and lifelike characters, it also raises some serious questions about the game's timeline and characters. We combed through the trailer several times and racked our brains to come up with theories about where this highly anticipated sequel is taking players. Read on for our insights and speculation.

Introducing Arthur Morgan
This outlaw appears to be a central character in the sequel, as he's appeared in both trailers to this point. Judging by the story beats in this trailer, Morgan is an undocumented agent of Dutch van der Linde who seems to be an independent operative. He tracks down debts and seems more menacing than Marston ever was, issuing threats to the first two people we see him interact with in the trailer. He mentions the gang has lawmen after them in three different states, confirming this is a territory-hopping adventure. It still remains unclear whether Morgan is the lone playable character or if Rockstar will have multiple protagonists as in Grand Theft Auto V. 

Dutch Is Back – Are We Hopping Across Time?
The charismatic and ruthless leader of the van der Linde gang is back, giving credence to the idea that at least part of Red Dead Redemption II takes place before the events of the original. The last time we saw Dutch, he hurled himself off the cliff of his mountain base, and agent Edgar Ross put a bullet in the head of his corpse for good measure. Unless he miraculously faked his death and made off scott free, Morgan is working for Dutch in the past during the gang's bloody reign, when they robbed more than 40 banks across the frontier. But why would Rockstar name the game Red Dead Redemption II if it's a prequel? That's the million dollar question. Perhaps the game features scenes from a time in the past (like the North Yankton bank heist in Grand Theft Auto V) and then picks up after the death of Marston, as well. Either way, we think this increases the odds of a John Marston sighting. 

You Killed Bill But He's Back, Too
We also see the silhouette of another deceased gang member, Bill Williamson, to the far right in this still shot taken from the trailer. Unless a new character wears his hat in the same fashion, that has to be another of the men on Marston's kill list he hunted down in Red Dead Redemption. This begs the question, which other characters will return? Perhaps Javier Escuella? 

Welcoming The Winter
As we speculated while breaking down the previous trailer, it appears Rockstar could be introducing seasons to the sequel that change environments as time moves forward in the story. Or, as in the first game, the open world may include a mountainous region that is permanently snowy. Either way, we're digging the environmental variety. We've seen rocky mountain ranges, rolling prairies, dense forests, muddy frontier towns, and...

Heading To The Bayou
Some portion of the game takes place in the deep South. Shots of outlaws swimming through swamps, alligators attacking pigs, and plantation homes point to a location facsimile of New Orleans or greater Louisiana. This shot shows three characters wading through the swamp waters. This could indicate swimming is possible in the sequel, unlike the original. 

Hunting Returns...This Time With Bows And Arrows!
Many lamented that Red Dead Redemption didn't have bows and arrows as a method of hunting prey in the wild. RDR II fulfills that promise. The number of fearsome beasts in the game also appears to be formidable, with the aforementioned alligator and a bear stalking in the trailer. 

Heists Are Here As Well
The scripted heist missions were one of the best parts of GTA V. It looks like they appear in some fashion in Red Dead Redemption II, as well. During the trailer we see the gang stop a train dead in its tracks. Later, Morgan is holding a teller at gunpoint forcing him to open the vault.

Who Is Hunting Morgan?
During the trailer we hear a voiceover saying "You're a wanted man, Mr. Morgan." Later when Morgan references being hunted down in three states we see a trio of men on horseback emerging over a ridge. The man in the middle has a bowler hat that reminds us of Edgar Ross, the agent who double-crossed Marston in RDR. Could he be back for a story that takes place between Marston's death and Ross' encounter with Jack? 

Is This Woman Bonnie MacFarlane?
Speculation abounds about the woman featured prominently in the trailer. Some think it's a younger Abigail Marston, but the hair and eye colors don't match up. Others think it could be Marston acquaintance Bonnie MacFarlane. Supposing the time-hopping narrative structure is true, this could indeed be an older Bonnie. A third possibility also exists – this is a brand new character we have yet to meet. Time will tell. 

Who's The Boy On The Right?
The trailer shows a young boy, perhaps no older than a teenager, in a scene with Morgan. It takes place immediately after we see a woman mourning a grave in a large graveyard. We know it's not Marston's grave, because he was buried on their ranch and not in a graveyard, so it's probably not Abigail Marston grieving. The boy is wearing a similar shirt to the one a young Jack Marston wore, but do they look similar enough? You be the judge. 

Share Your Theories Below
We have several other questions about the trailer as well. Who is the man in the middle walking away from the burning mansion? Who is the native who Morgan interacts with at a frontier camp? If you spotted a telling detail, please share in the comments section below. 

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Red Dead Redemption IIcover

Red Dead Redemption II

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date:
October 26, 2018 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One), 
November 5, 2019 (PC)